By Girish Kumar Dubey
Sonbhadra (U.P.)June 20 : Development activities in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh hope to contain the spread of naxalism in the area.
Inhabited by a large proportion of tribals, the area has been home to Naxalites for a long time. The Naxalites usually hide in jungles and to effectively chase them, proper roads are a must.
Likewise, police stations are being upgraded alongside building of helipads to ensure a hassle-free transportation during any crisis.
Explaining this action plan, the Inspector General of Police (Varanasi Range), Praveen Singh said that the Union Government has earmarked ample funds for the projects.
"The central government has chosen some regions under the scheme for special infrastructure development in which Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra District is included. Under the scheme, roads, police stations, and helipad aids would be provided," said Praveen Singh, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Varanasi Range.
Experts believe that the Maoists spread their influence where people are backward. Keeping these aspects in view, infrastructure development in tribal belts has been given prime importance.
"Some anti-social elements are exploiting their feelings and provoking them to act against the law. Our endeavor is to connect these people to the mainstream and make them aware of the things that government is doing for them," Praveen added.
Local tribals, however, doubt whether such initiatives are likely to benefit them.
"The government has been turning a deaf ear towards us. There is no doctor, no teacher and no IAS officer to serve them. Where should tribals go? Only making roads so that police can reach on time during an attack is not the solution?." said Vibhusha Patra, the coordinator of the Association for Democratic Rights.
Villagers say that despite much progress across the country, the condition of tribals in Sonbhadra hasn't improved. They still live without education, economic development, and proper infrastructure. The zest of the youth to live a better life has taken a violent shape because of the lack of support from administration.
"When the police turns a deaf year to our demands, we fight against such forces. We have to fight for our rights," said, a Naxalite requesting anonymity.
Tribals in Sonbhadra are hopeful that development projects will change the lives of the people in the area.